Folks who choose smaller homes in more denser, more convenient neighborhoods also happen to be living greener lives and should be encouraged in their choices. Surely they would appreciate a mortgage that gives them more buying power and allows them to downsize a little less than they would otherwise have to.

Luckily, other regional programs have sprung up to offer straphangers better deals.

Residents of Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle can look into Location Efficient Mortgages -- a program launched by the NRDC in conjunction with transportation and community groups -- available from local branches of Countrywide, National City Mortgage ( NCC) and others.

House-hunting Bostonians can consider the "Take the T" program initiated by MassHousing and available from local lenders including the Hingham Institution for Saving ( HIFS)

It's great when institutions like Fannie Mae come up with innovative programs that can both help individuals and have a broad policy impact. It's better still when they realize what a good and timely idea they have and run with it. I hope Fannie Mae gets its act together to do just that.
Eileen P. Gunn writes about the business of life and is the author of "Your Career Is An Extreme Sport." You can learn more about her at her Web site.

If you liked this article you might like

Disney's Stunt Is No Help to the Planet

Disney's Stunt Is No Help to the Planet

Disney's Stunt Is No Help to the Planet

Cities: Better for Green Living Than Suburbs

Cities: Better for Green Living Than Suburbs

Clearer Labels Make Smarter Consumers

Labeling Holds Product Makers Accountable

Labeling Holds Product Makers Accountable